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NCLB Outrages

Schools Drop Naptime for Test Prep

Ohanian Comment: Research has shown there is a direct relationship between the presence of DIBELS and the absence of common sense, not to mention good teaching practice.

GADSDEN, Ala. -- Hey, all you 5-year-olds, wake up! It's time to get ready for your test.

Gadsden city schools have eliminated naptime for kindergartners so children will have more time to prepare for new, mandated standardized tests.

Wynell Williams, elementary education director for the Gadsden school system, said she and elementary school principals decided in June to end naptime.

"If the state is holding us accountable, this is the way we have to do it," Williams said. "Kindergarten is not like it used to be."

Not all parents agree with the move. Veronica Rodriguez, who has two sons in kindergarten at Floyd Elementary School, sent other parents a letter encouraging them to oppose the nap ban.

"I'm not just trying to con people into, 'My kids need a nap,'" she said. "This is for all kids. I did my research. They all need it."

This year, Alabama kindergartners are required to take a standardized test called DIBELS -- or Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills -- along with pupils in the first and second grades.

So pupils in Gadsden schools had naptime for the last time on Sept. 19, the end of the first six weeks of school.

Instead of naptime, Williams said, children will be allowed to lay their heads down on their desks if they're sleepy. Children who don't want to rest will use the time to prepare for testing or do some other activity with a teacher, she said.

Gadsden Superintendent Bob Russell initially said the recommendation to end naptime came from the office of State School Superintendent Ed Richardson. Russell later said the idea was from the "testing people" and declined further comment.

Rebecca White, a spokeswoman for Richardson, denied that he or his staff recommended ending naptime in Gadsden or any other Alabama school system.

In the DIBELS tests, kindergartners are evaluated on naming and pronouncing the sounds of different letters. The tests, which pupils take three times a year, are designed to be one-minute fluency measures.

White said states are required to test kindergartners under President Bush's "No Child Left Behind" education initiative.

— Associated Press
Schools drop naptime for testing preparation
Atlanta Journal-Constitution


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